A holiday at home
Caroline and Tim Norris opted for seating, a kitchen, a summerhouse and hot tub that turns their garden into the perfect staycation spot!
Readers turn their plot into the perfect staycation spot
After extending and renovating their home, which took around nine months, Caroline and Tim Norris decided to take a break for a couple of years before turning their attention to the garden. ‘We are both complete garden novices, so we really needed to think about what we wanted and do lots of research,’ says Caroline.
The garden was a good size, stocked with mature shrubs and trees, but the couple rarely ventured past the patio seating area, which meant all that space was going to waste.
‘We went to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival as a starting point,’ says Caroline, ‘then we used Pinterest to find images to illustrate a wish list of what we had in mind for the garden.
‘Luckily, we knew a landscape gardener, Simon Fraser, and trusted him to do a good job. Initially, we paid him a
£500 design fee to plot out everything on our wish list. We tried not to be too prescriptive, so he had the freedom to come up with creative solutions and ideas that we hadn’t thought of.’
Once the plans were agreed, the garden was cleared and the summerhouse was built, taking five days, including one to lay the foundations. Simon did the rest, including the raised beds, outdoor kitchen, shed, wood store and planting. ‘We wanted low-maintenance plants, especially various grasses, to create the Mediterranean look I had in mind,’ says Caroline.
The garden room doubles as a living space and home office, decorated with green accents to visually link with the garden beyond. ‘We found a brilliant company called Green Retreats, which sorted it all for us – design, build and electrics,’ says Caroline.
‘We chose the wrong pebbles for the path! They don’t blend well with the garden and are tough on bare feet. It would be easy to change, but we’ve decided to live with them.’
Cooking al fresco
‘We used white rendered breeze blocks, to match the house, and installed a pizza oven from Blistering Woodfired Ovens,’ says Caroline.
‘We saw hot tubs on a trip to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival and it inspired us to buy one – a natural wood design from Riviera Hot Tubs. It was definitely the right decision. It means that we are in the garden summer and winter – we were even in it on Christmas Eve!’